Meme Project

by mmcgrat4

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        For my meme project I chose The Most Interesting Man In The World. This meme is one of the most popular memes on the internet, and was created after an advertising campaign by Dos Equis in 2006. This advertising campaign, created by Euro RSCG Worldwide, “starred American actor Jonathan Goldsmith as ‘the most interesting man’ with narration by Will Lyman, best known for his narrating role in the public affairs TV program Frontline” (knowyourmeme). In each advertisement, Will Lyman would list interesting things that Jonathan Goldsmith’s character has done, and then at the end of the commercial, Jonathan Goldsmith says “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis,” followed by “stay thirsty, my friends.” From this setting, a still image of Jonathan Goldsmith’s character sitting in front of a Dos Equis bottle was transformed into a very popular meme in early 2010. The meme’s caption is designed as follows: “I don’t always do X, but when I do, I Y.” In this template, “I don’t always do X” is the top line, and “but when I do, I Y” is the bottom caption. However, like all memes, this template can be broken and used as a meme itself.

            I chose The Most Interesting Man In The World because it is one of my favorite memes and it’s interesting to analyze. It was not created as a meme, it was created as an advertisement, which I believe makes it more exciting than say, “Y U NO” guy, which is an image created simply to be a meme. Additionally, Mr. Interesting over here has a nice caption template and a sarcastic tone that appeals to me greatly. This sarcastic tone is also important in understanding the kinds of messages the meme tries to send. For starters, this meme, like most internet memes, is meant to be humorous. If you aren’t at least amused after reading derivations of this meme, it is an invalid derivation, even if it uses the template correctly. Additionally, this meme is meant to be ironic. “I don’t always do X, but when I do, I Y” can be rephrased as “Whenever I X, I Y.” As these two sentences are equivalent, either both of them will be funny, or neither will. If you look as the second sentence, it is easy to see that the only way that statement can be humorous is if sarcasm and irony are used to choose an X and Y that either a) you wouldn’t normally associate together, or b) is very relatable to you. For example, my memes about meat and music are both very relatable, but to different overlapping audiences. On the other hand, my meme about this project works because it’s bizarre to think about turning in a project late and making a meme for your professor about it. The audience for this is again different from the first two examples.

            Audience is an extremely important consideration when creating or describing a meme. First of all, my audience is limited to English speaking people. I admit this is obvious, but it is always an important factor to consider. Also, an internet meme’s audience is immediately limited by the nature of internet meme’s. If someone doesn’t know what a meme is, most if not all memes won’t make much sense to them. Additionally, the people who don’t know this particular meme, but do know memes in general further limit my audience. Without knowledge of the caption template, some of the meaning will be lost. These considerations give us the maximum audience for a The Most Interesting Man In The World meme. Now each meme will have a different audience. Let’s start with the meat example. This meme probably has the smallest audience of the three memes, because I am referencing a feeling about Notre Dame in particular. So current or former Notre Dame students are the audience for this meme. The music meme is much more universal, because I’m pretty sure anyone who listens to music knows how it feels to forget the name of a song you like. So this audience would be pretty close to everyone who understands the meme. Finally, the project meme doesn’t depend solely on relating to the audience, but the audience still has to understand the context of the situation. So the audience of this would be anyone who both understands the structure of the meme and has turned in a project late. So there you have it, three memes, all different, all using the same format, just like a thousand other The Most Interesting Man In The World memes that are created every day.

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